Autumn View Edition 2, 2020


A message from the chair

Well in these days of COVID we are finally putting together another Autumn View for your reading pleasure. Since your Regional Retired Member Chairs met in January 2020, we have all been facing the COVID Pandemic and have had our worlds turned upside down.

All of us collectively have been introduced to Zoom family gatherings and Zoom meetings. We have gone to take outs at restaurants, home deliveries for groceries or at least a masked version of a shopper and have been basically home bound for what seems like forever. The sad part of all this is, we have no idea when this will end and when life will return to some degree of normalcy.

On a personal note, last season’s curling ended abruptly mid-stream in February, my golf season didn’t start until into June and my wife and I have had our 50th Anniversary Fiji Cruise planned for February 2021 cancelled. Thanksgiving was down to a quiet meal with just the two of us and we can only hope at this point for a better Christmas. I wrote this message yesterday with the following line ‘The good news here is, so far, no one I know on a personal level has come down with the virus’ however early this morning I received a call from our daughter-in-law who informed me that her mother who is in a LTC in Hamilton has come down with COVID. So much for “Good News”.

From an OPSEU/SEFPO point of view, your Retired Member Chairs have not been the only ones unable to meet. The list of cancelled events include the OPSEU/SEFPO Convention, the CLC convention, the Ontario Federation of Retirees conference, Congress of Union Retirees Convention and a scheduled OPSEU/SEFPO Activist Retirees Conference. This doesn’t include, a number of OPSEU/SEFPO Area Council and District Labour Council meetings. Most important from your perspective, we already had to cancel two Retired Members Division meetings within each region.

So, where does this leave us? I wish I had an answer as to when we start up again, when all OPSEU/SEFPO meetings will begin again, when social activities will make our days more pleasant, but I don’t. No one does and so we must continue to social distance and stay at home when possible and miss our kids, and grandkids. This too will pass. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and in the meantime, stay well and stay safe.

Ed Faulknor
Chair, OPSEU/SEFPO Retired Members Division

Turning 71

The weeks have turned into months and here we are – in the last quarter of 2020. Many will be happy to see this year in the rearview mirror!

If you are turning 71 this year, then you have some work to do before we get into the Christmas season (whatever that will look like this year!)

The Canadian government regulates your RRSP and since they gave you the tax break going IN to your RRSP, they want to start collecting some of that tax money back – so you must turn your RRSP into a RRIF by the end of the year that you turn 71 and start taking some income OUT.

You don’t have to take any income from your RRIF in the first year, but you must take income from your RRIF by the end of the year in which you turn 72. If you have RRSP’s spread out over multiple financial institutions and accounts, now is probably the best time to consolidate those RRSP’s into one RRIF – to simplify your income stream and your tax reporting.

The Income phase of life is much different from the Saving phase of life, so it’s best to work with a Financial Planner who can coordinate your retirement income as tax efficiently as possible.

So, if you or someone you know turned 71 this year – we need to talk – SOON! The paperwork should be submitted by the end of November, to give the institutions enough time to process the changeovers. Don’t leave it until the last minute – let’s get it done now before the snow starts flying – ugh!

Here are a few places to get RRIF information you may find helpful:

  • Final RRSP Contribution at age 71
  • RRSP’s & RRIF’s on Death
  • Understanding the New RRIF Rules
  • 2020 Tax tips

This article was written by Leony deGraaf Hastings a certified Financial Planner from deGraaf Financial Strategies

Telemedicine is Laying the Roadmap for Healthcare’s Future

Growing up, I had witnessed my father, Dr. Franco Lenna, Growing up, I had witnessed my father, Dr. Franco Lenna, MD, attend to patients in his clinic. However, the past several months have changed the way healthcare works and proven that telemedicine holds a lot of promise. It has, in fact, become a necessity, since it reduces vulnerability while allowing doctors and nurses to handle more patients. At the same time, it provides increased efficiency and accessibility to those in need. It not only eliminates travel, but also provides clinical support seamlessly, improves patient outcomes and overcomes geographic hurdles.

So, whether we are prepared or not, telemedicine is on its journey into the fold, slowly increasing in acceptance and set to transform the future of healthcare as we know it. Per McKinsey & Company, providers across the U.S. ” are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before. ”

To explore this topic in-depth, I spoke with Dr. Ari Bernstein, MD, a New York-based physician and author who is operating at the leading edge of telemedicine. “We must realize that telemedicine is at its pinnacle in present times, expanding and growing far beyond usual interactions between patients and physicians,” he explains. “For me, technology is multiplying the relevance and value of telehealth by meeting the aim to improve people’s health, reduce costs, enhance the patient experience and increase provider satisfaction while ensuring everyone’s safety.”

Greater monitoring, larger access

Dr. Bernstein shares that “the use of telemedicine to screen a patient’s health remotely has introduced a whole new level of convenience and respite for both health providers and patients. It is serving to substitute in-person visits to a medical professional by facilitating virtual doctor meetings.”

It has also made additional monitoring and care possible that was otherwise unavailable. For instance, patients living in far-flung areas can virtually consult with experts who can monitor and evaluate their condition and make sure they receive the right treatment at the right time. Though Dr. Bernstein cautions that “this hasn’t entirely eliminated visits to the doctor, but instead, the process of physical appointments and telehealth are functioning in tandem with each other.”

With telemedicine, physicians are able to provide consultation, healthcare information and services to patients or clients at multiple locations. Defeating geographic barriers is particularly crucial in remote zones where people may have to travel hundreds of miles to see a special care provider, even when they are ill.

“Telemedicine is proving to be convenient for constantly monitoring chronic ailments like diabetes, hypertension or COVID-19,” says Dr. Bernstein.

Relative affordability

Telemedicine is already playing a huge role in containing costs. In the past, providers struggled with compensation for telehealth services, but more and more health insurers
are reimbursing the fees for these consultations. Consequently, patients are starting to view it as a viable system.

Improved patient satisfaction

“With the move towards consumerization and value-based care, it has now, more than ever, become vital to cater to the patients’ needs,” Dr. Bernstein implores. “Telemedicine, through its offerings ranging from lower cost, efficient monitoring and reduced wait times, is appealing to patients.”

And even though I grew up watching my father run a more traditional in-person practice, I strongly second Dr. Bernstein’s outlook. Telemedicine is a win-win for all and should continue gaining ground and revolutionizing all facets of the health space.

This article was written by Simonetta Lein and was supplied to Autumn View by

Léony deGraaf Hastings, CFP, CEA, EPC
Certified Financial Planner
deGraaf Financial Strategies
Main Office : (905) 632-9900

Child care, pharmacare priorities amid pandemic, area Grit MPs tell CLC

National child-care and Pharmacare programs may emerge as priorities for the federal government as it copes with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, two London Liberal MPs say.

“There is a great deal of alignment between issues the CLC is championing and our government,” said MP Peter Fragiskatos (L-London North Centre), after speaking with CLC officials.

“If you look at what they want to bring to the table, it is what we are working on.”

Fellow MP Kate Young (L-London West), struck a similar tone after her meeting with national labour officials.

“There are social issues laid bare due to COVID and we are seeing gaps. There are families struggling who need help. We are committed to a national child-care program and Pharmacare,” said Young.

“These are the No. 1 issues with Liberal MPs.”

The Canadian Labour Congress wanted to press government officials on concerns raised in the pandemic and decided to engage with MPs in their communities, said Hassan Yussuff, CLC president.

He was not surprised that Pharmacare has emerged as top issue as workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic have lost drug coverage.

He added that improving the employment insurance system to improve benefits and make it more accessible for workers is another priority CLC has heard from other MPs.

“These are important issues and we want to push government to move. We want to work with them. We want to make sure these issues are at the top of the list,” said Yussuff.

Not surprisingly, the CLC’s vision is very much in line with the federal New Democratic Party, and talks with congress officials reinforced, said MP Lindsay Mathyssen (NDPLondon– Fanshawe).

“They are aligned with what we believe in already, focused around workers,” she said after talks centred on what needs to occur during the pandemic’s second wave.

“The pandemic has shown the flaws in our social safety net.”

The NDP has pressed the Liberals to improve programs such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, Canada Recovery Benefit and wage subsidy program.

“We have seen such an imbalance,” Mathyssen said. “Some corporations made $35 billion during the pandemic and others have nothing, small business owners have lost everything.”

The NDP also pressed government to alter its rental assistance program, to focus more on tenants than landlords, and those changes are coming, she added.

Fragiskatos, a member of the federal finance committee, is also sympathetic to the idea of a national $15-an-hour minimum wage.

“We (and the CLC) see the issue in similar ways,” he said.

Social housing was also top of mind in discussions with the CLC. The Liberal government recently pumped $7.5 million into rapid housing initiatives in London and announced $1 billion nationally for cities to buy motels.

Ottawa has a $10-billion, 20-year plan for infrastructure spending with a focus on housing.

“A lot of work has been done recently,” said Fragiskatos.

Young also would like to see national standards for long-term care homes, another need exposed by the pandemic. “We have to figure out what we will do. We have to make sure seniors are taken care of,” said Young.

– This article was written by Norman De Bono of Post Media and was an article on the CLC website

Commitment to a minimum direct care time standard in long-term care long overdue, says OFL

TORONTO, Nov. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is pleased that the Ford government has recognized the urgent need to establish a legally enforceable minimum standard of an average of four hours direct care time per resident per day in long-term care, but warns that commitment must be spelled out in legislation, and backed with appropriate investment and a commitment to full-time employment for PSW’s and nursing staff.

“The crisis in long-term care requires immediate meaningful legislated action with a detailed plan to implement the newly announced minimum care standards,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates. “Care workers need a guarantee that personal support work, long-term care work, is decent full-time work with benefits and pensions.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour, our affiliated members that represent workers in long-term care, our allies and communities across Ontario demand that the minimum care standards in long-term care include a robust plan and approach to improving Ontario’s long-term care sector built on the following principles:

  1. Care standards must be detailed, holistic and include input from unions and the workers that provide hands-on care.Unions and workers must have input. Decisions on care standards cannot be left to powerful for-profit lobby interests.
  2. All work, particularly, long-term care work, must be decent work.That means, full-time employment, job security, access to paid sick days, benefits, pensions, and a livable wage with the recently instituted temporary $3 PSW pay increase made permanent.
  3. “Time to Care” must include a concrete staffing strategy plan, like that instituted in Quebec, which includes targeted recruitment, training and retention strategies.The plan must include aggressive onboarding strategies, targets and expedited timelines for recruitment, training and the retention of long-term care workers. The plan must start immediately, not four years down the road.
  4. Properly resourced. A commitment to instituting “Time to Care” standards must be backed with substantial and increased investment commitments.
  5. Guaranteed in legislation. Simply decrying minimum care standards through regulation will not suffice. Care standards must be permanently legislated.

“If the government’s final and completed care standards package is holistic, derived with input from workers and their unions, guarantees care work as well-paid, full-time work, grounded by targeted timelines for recruitment and training, backed with investment and spelled out in legislation then it will be more than just words on paper, it will be cause for real celebration by long-term care residents, families and the workers who care for them,” said Coates.

– This article was taken from the website of the Ontario Federation of Labour

OPSEU/SEFPO calls for OPP investigation into deaths at private long-term care homes

  • November 12, 2020 – 6:38 am

Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is urging Premier Doug Ford to call on the OPP to investigate an inordinate and unacceptable number of deaths in provincial, private-for-profit long-term care homes, including the 29 COVID-19 deaths that recently occurred at Kennedy Lodge in east Toronto.

“Maybe it will take someone going to jail to end this carnage,” said Thomas. “We know what’s needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. We know the safety equipment that’s required. And we know the safety measures, including appropriate PPE, that must be in place.

“Why are so many people in some of our long-term care homes continuing to die? At a time on the calendar when we commemorate those who protected this country, we must also acknowledge those who built it. It is often the same people.”

COVID-19 cases continue to rise rapidly across the province, but the outbreaks in private, as opposed to publicly operated, long-term care homes have been the deadliest by far. According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the virus has now killed 110 long-term care residents over the past two weeks.

Along with the 29 deaths at Kennedy Lodge in Scarborough, at least nine residents of Ottawa’s West End Villa have died during this second wave.

OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says there are serious questions that must be answered about long-term care, and why residents continue to die in such high numbers.

“When our hospitals were cleared in the spring to deal with the first wave, were some of those patients sent to long-term care homes only to get sick and die?” asked Almeida. “What was hospital capacity in the spring? Why isn’t hospital capacity being addressed now?”

Thomas said the families of the victims need justice, and all Ontarians need assurance that urgent steps are being taken to prevent any more deaths.

“Enough is enough,” said Thomas. “Perhaps the Premier isn’t being told the truth about why all these deaths are happening, and what has to be done to stop them.

“The truth needs to come out. Someone has to be held to account.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931

Canadian government warning residents to beware of convincing new SIN scam

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is warning residents to beware of a very convincing new caller ID spoofing scam that attempts to fool people into thinking their social insurance number (SIN) has been blocked, compromised or suspended.

The CAFC says fraudsters are pretending to be calling from government agencies such as Service Canada, the RCMP, or various courthouses. When these people call, you will see the phone number of these agencies on your caller ID.

This is due to caller ID spoofing, which disguises telephone numbers appearing on a caller ID display. This tool allows scammers to disguise their calls, as the call will appear to be coming from local or familiar numbers to trick people into answering the phone and trusting the caller.

Residents who receive this call are asked to provide their SIN and other personal information, such as their date of birth, name, address, and more. Victims who provide their personal information to unknown individuals are at risk of identity fraud.

So, how can you be vigilant? The CAFC says not to trust your call display. “It does not matter what the caller ID says, you cannot trust it,” the CAFC says on its website.

The CAFC is reminding residents to never give out personal information such as account numbers, SINs, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.

If you get a call from someone who says they represent a legitimate company or a government agency and are seeking personal information, hang up and call the government agency, financial institution or police service to confirm the authenticity of the call.

Ford Gov’t’s New Law Shields For-Profit Long-Term Care Homes
from Liability

Ontario Health Coalition – Wed., Oct 21 2020, 10:38 AM

Ford Government’s New Legislation Will Make It Significantly Harder to Hold For-Profit Long-term Care Homes Liable for COVID-19 Harms

The Ford government has introduced legislation that would make it significantly harder for residents and families to hold long-term care homes liable for harm resulting from exposure to and infection with COVID-19. The legislation covers any individual, corporation or entity and includes the crown (which means the government and its agencies).

Bill 218, which was both introduced in the Ontario Legislature by the Ford government and passed First Reading yesterday, is retroactive to March 17, 2020 meaning the legal rights of those who were infected, potentially infected or exposed to coronavirus on or after March 17, 2020 will be compromised by the legislation, if it is passed, no matter when they started any legal actions. There will be no compensation or relief for plaintiffs as a result of having their rights extinguished under this bill. The major changes in the legislation are as follows:

  • It requires those harmed as a result of exposure to and infection with COVID-19 to prove gross negligence rather than the current standard which is ordinary negligence. This is a significant difference which requires proof of a higher legal standard that is more difficult to prove.
  • It redefines “good faith effort”. Currently a good faith effort to comply with legislative, regulatory and policy requirements means a competent and reasonable effort. Instead, the new bill explicitly changes the definition to state “an honest effort whether reasonable or not”.

Bottom line: if passed, the legislation would make it at once significantly harder to sue a long-term care home and significantly easier for a home to defend itself.

In Ontario, more than seventy percent of the deaths from COVID-19 in the first wave have been in long-term care homes, according to a CIHI analysis of the first wave (to May 25, 2020). A host of legal actions have been started, alleging negligence and failure to follow public health measures, particularly against for-profit long-term care home chain companies.

“No resident or family member who has suffered harm and injury as a result of the negligence of a long-term care home operator should have their rights to access justice extinguished in this way,” said Graham Webb, LL.B., LL.M., Executive Director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, a community legal clinic specializing in seniors’ issues. “It is difficult enough for residents and their families to prove the ordinary civil standard of negligence against business operations like a long-term care home without having to discharge the higher and ambiguous standard of ‘gross negligence’. This is all about protecting the rights of negligent long-term care home operators at the expense of residents injured through the fault of the operator.”

“We are calling for this bill to be defeated,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, which represents more than half-a-million Ontarians committed to safeguarding and improving public health care. “Elderly people in longterm care have suffered enormously as a result of negligence, incompetence and indifference by profit-seeking corporations that have engaged in egregious practices while at the same time paying out tens of millions of dollars a month in profits to their shareholders. This is morally reprehensible.”

The Coalition pointed out that it has been the practice of some of the big for-profit longterm care chains to try to change legislation to reduce their liability and make it harder to sue them. Other jurisdictions have refused to change legislation at the behest of forprofit long-term care companies facing lawsuits for negligent and poor care.

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Ontario Health Coalition
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Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8

What are the Facts About Fall Risk?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paint a grim picture by telling us that “more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.”

And unfortunately, there is more. The WHO report shares even more alarming statistics relating to elderly falls:

  • “Falls lead to 20-30% of mild to severe injuries and are the underlying cause of 10-15% of all emergency department visits. More than 50% of injury-related hospitalizations are among people over 65 years and older. The major underlying causes for fall-related hospital admission are hip fracture, traumatic brain injuries and upper limb injuries.”
  • “The duration of hospital stays due to falls varies; however, it is much longer than other injuries and can range from 4 to 15 days.”
  • “Falls may also result in a post-fall syndrome that includes dependence, loss of autonomy, confusion, immobilization and depression, which will lead to a further restriction in daily activities.”
  • “Falls account for 40% of all injury deaths. Rates vary depending on the country and the studied population. The fall fatality rate for people aged 65 and older in the United States of America is 36.8 per 100,000 population (46.2 for men and 31.1 for women).”
  • “Fatal falls rates increase exponentially with age for both sexes, highest at the age of 85 years and over. Rates of fatal falls among men exceed that of women for all age groups in spite of the fewer occurrences of falls among them. This is attributed to the fact that men suffer from more co-morbid conditions than women of the same age.”

4 Long-Term Consequences of Falls Among Older Adults

There are many possible outcomes from a senior’s fall, including:

  1. Injury. Depending on where and how a senior falls, there is a high risk of injury. A
    senior’s brittle bones can easily become his or her broken bones.
  2. Reduced Independence. Even the smallest fall can result in uncertainty in the mind of a senior. A senior can put up a brave front and appear to be healthy and robust. He or she may even say that the fall is nothing to worry about. However, there may be a lingering doubt about what he or she is capable of doing. After a fall – or a series of falls – a senior may think twice about heading outside for fear of another fall.
  3. Multiple Falls. A single fall can begin a chain reaction of more falls. These continual falls are often the result of a senior’s lack of confidence. Reduced eyesight can result in a senior reaching for a caregiver’s supportive arm or a handrail but missing their target. While a senior or a family caregiver may dismiss a fall as not being serious, this could be completely wrong. A senior may sustain more serious injuries or even die. Let that single fall serve as a red flag of warning.
  4. Further Family Impact. Falling doesn’t always just affect the senior. It can also affect the senior’s family. Family caregivers may have to rush away from their workplaces following a phone call alerting them of such an accident. Repeated phone calls may result in a complete departure from the office. Excessive chatting on the phone can be deemed unnecessary and a distraction from the job at hand leading to job dismissal. A caregiver may also decide to quit a job to be available for their loved one after a fall and tend to any needs that may arise. Or they may wish to be there to help.

Homecare Assistance

How to turn a difficult life event on its head

Posted on November 5, 2020

A lot is being said about stress these days, and it’s no wonder. The pandemic has brought with it countless sources of extreme stress. But there has been relative silence on a topic that would help us get through the stress. And that topic is “resilience.” Maybe that’s because we all know what stress is, and what it feels like. And maybe we are less familiar with the concept of resilience. Resilience, which comes from Latin and literally means “jumping back up,” is about adapting well to stress, hardship or adversity.

It is not a foregone conclusion that stress will lead to illness, nor that trauma will break us. To give an example from nature, if you put stress on something physical, say the branch of a tree, it might break. But depending on the amount of stress, and the strength of the branch, it might not break at all. It might simply bend, and flex, and return to its original state. In the case of human beings, stress and adversity can even make a person stronger. This is resilience. And it is a human ability, available to all of us, that simply needs to be awakened.

Here, to demonstrate the basics of human resilience, is Monika. Monika lost her job due to the pandemic. At first blush, this was nothing but bad news. She was dejected, even depressed, and had trouble getting out of bed. But soon her internal resources—and her resilience—kicked in.

Here’s a step-by-step account of how resilience can turn a difficult life event on its head, using Monika as our example.

Reaching out for support

We can build up our resilience by drawing on and building up our relationships and our support network. Monika checked in with friends who had also been affected by pandemic-related job loss. This helped remind her that she was not alone. In fact, she started to see herself as part of a community – of people who had lost their jobs when the pandemic hit who were struggling too. By reaching out for support, Monika was demonstrating and building resilience.

Shifting your perception

How you perceive an event can make a big difference in your ability to be resilient. An event might be “potentially” traumatic, but your response to it – how you interpret it, or assign meaning to it — might actually help you overcome it. So, in the example of Monika, she realized there were other ways to understand and interpret her job loss, besides as just an obstacle or challenge. She reminded herself that she’d longed for less stressful work, and that losing her job offered her the chance to find it.

Being kind to yourself

When you are compassionate with yourself in the face of adversity and challenges, you are building your resilience. As for Monika, she recognized that the job itself had been very stressful, She decided to take the interruption as an opportunity to rest and take care of herself.

Knowing it’s not personal or permanent

There are things we can control, and things we can’t. Monika chose to recognize the external forces at play in her job loss, not seeing it as a reflection of her as a person or as a permanent state. She would certainly find work again.

Identifying your own power

Being resilient means seeing that there are things within your control. Monika acted on her belief that she wasn’t powerless in the face of external forces; that she has some control in her own life, It wasn’t long before she had polished up her resume, sought advice from a career counsellor and looked for less demanding work. Then, in the middle of the summer, against the odds, she found new work.

Monika may be fictional, but her experience is not. Anyone can learn and demonstrate resilience. The way we perceive and respond to hardships can make the difference between the figurative branch that snaps, and the one that just gets stronger.

Homecare Assistance

Your goal may be big, and at times, it may seem impossible and difficult. You will feel like you’re failing and you’re not getting anywhere. But perseverance, belief and conviction in those small steps that you’re taking towards those goals is what you need to be confident about. Consistently your life mission, one step at a time, no matter how small the step maybe

Specific issues facing older persons


The Discussion Paper identifies a number of problems facing older workers. These include assumptions that older workers are less ambitious, hardworking and dynamic and are resistant to, or unable to cope with, technological change. Other major employment issues include the dismissal of older workers, targeting older workers in workplace reorganization (sometimes with ‘offers’ of early retirement and sometimes simply through termination or lay-off), difficulties faced by older workers in gaining employment and of course, mandatory retirement at age 65. Please note, the Commission does not oppose early retirement incentives that are truly voluntary.

The Discussion Paper recommends that the Commission develop tools to distinguish legitimate downsizing or performance issues from those that are related to age discrimination. What kinds of tools could assist the Commission in this regard?

The Discussion Paper also recommends that the Commission advocate for the extension of human rights protections on the basis of age to persons who are not subject to mandatory retirement and who continue to work past age 65. Do you have any comments on this proposal?

Currently, the law allows employers to implement mandatory retirement at age 65. Do you feel it is time for this issue to be revisited? If so, how should the retirement age for a worker be established?


In addition to the need for affordable housing, seniors need housing that is safe, accessible, adaptable and barrier-free.

The Commission is proposing to examine the recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Aging and other organizations with respect to barrier-free design in order to incorporate the recommendations into policy work in the area of housing. Are there other policy initiatives the Commission can pursue to address the special housing needs of seniors?

Health Care, Institutions and Services

The needs of the aging population must be a critical consideration in the provision of health care services. Some of the specific concerns in relation to health care include:

  • Difficulties faced by seniors in accessing health care services, e.g. problems in finding a family physician and a lack of treatment for particular medical conditions;
  • Limited benefits coverage of the health care system which may result in seniors having to pay for some medically-related and dental services;
  • Inadequate facilities and services for long-term care, complex continuing care and rehabilitation; and
  • Inadequate community-based health care.

Despite an increase in the use of community-based health care, the need for adequate nursing home care is predicted to increase. There is also a need for facilities which address the needs of particular seniors, e.g. gay and lesbian seniors or seniors with specific cultural or religious needs.

In addition to health-related services, another significant service for seniors is public transit.

The Commission has suggested two initiatives in relation to health care and institutional services:

  1. communicating with the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care to inquire about investment in chronic care, complex-continuing care and rehabilitation services and facilities; and
  2. communicating with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Ontario Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association to advise that differential access to medical treatment could constitute discrimination on the basis of age and, in many cases, disability.

Are there other organizations or bodies that should be included in this type of outreach? Are there other problems of discrimination against seniors in the provision of health care or institutional services?

The Commission is planning to incorporate the principles in the Discussion Paper into its report on public transit accessibility in Ontario. Are there any issues in relation to access to public transit that the Commission can address?

Government of Canada

Recognizing Elder Abuse

As a caregiver to a senior, it’s important to know how to recognize elder abuse. Seniors, in particular seniors with dementia, are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of by strangers. In Ontario, 10% of seniors experience some sort of elder abuse which is defined as an act or lack of action, within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, that harms a senior or causes them distress or risks their health or welfare.

Abuse can take many forms including:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Psychological Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Neglect

It can include abusive behavior such as:

  • Being controlling (isolating them from friends or family)
  • Blaming them for the abuse
  • Having a strong sense of entitlement to their property
  • Treating them like a child
  • Leaving them alone for long periods of time if they’re dependent.

Warning signs of abuse:

Some warning signs of a senior being abused can include:

  • changes in mood (depression, fear, anxiety or detachment)
  • changes in behaviour (social withdrawal)
  • physical harm (unexplained injuries)
  • neglect (lack of hygiene, food, clothing)
  • failure to meet financial obligations or unusual bank withdrawals
  • changes in living arrangements (people moving in or being forced out)

If you suspect the person you help to support is being abused contact the Seniors Safety Line at:


Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has a suite of digital tools to help support the physical and mental health and well-being of Canadians during COVID-19. These include:
    • Wellness Together Canada, an online portal dedicated to mental wellness and substance use support. It connects Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists, and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, and makes it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
    • Canada COVID-19, a mobile app that features a symptom tracker, a selfassessment tool, trustworthy up-to-date information on COVID-19, as well as information on mental health and substance use support.
    • Get Updates on COVID-19, a web-based email service that provides subscribers with critical information related to the pandemic. Subscribers receive emails directing them to important and authoritative content on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website.

On March 29, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide children and youth with mental health support and counselling services during this difficult time.

If you or someone you know is have challenges of a call 211 to get information on services available in your community.

The Ontario Caregiver

What is 211?

211 is the source Canadians trust when seeking information and services to deal with life’s challenges.

211’s award-winning telephone helpline (2-1-1) and website provide a gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and related government services.

211 helps to navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 150 languages.

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Make a Will

Lawyer Robert Welch answers a few questions about making a Will

No matter what your current health status, having a Will in place is a gift you give to your loved ones left behind in the event of your death. It also ensures your wishes will be carried out. We asked lawyer Robert Welch of Lancaster, Brooks and Welch in St. Catharines, Ontario, to answer some basic questions about creating a Will. Welch has given presentations about estate planning to a local CPFF support group. You’ll want to consult your own lawyer to help you with yours, but we hope this helps you get started.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that specifies what is to happen to a person’s assets after death. It can also make other provisions.

Who can make a Will?

Anyone over the age of 18 and mentally competent can make a Will.

Who is an estate trustee?

The person you choose to carry out the terms of your Will is an estate trustee (formerly known as an “executor” or “executrix”). They must be trustworthy and legally of age. Usually people choose close friends or relatives and, if the Estate is complex, sometimes professionals such as lawyers, accountants, or trust companies. More than one person is often appointed, or an alternative is designated in case the first is unable to act for any reason.

Are Wills for today or tomorrow?

Both. You should base your instructions on present circumstances and the possibility that you might die shortly after signing, regardless of age or health. Wills should be reviewed as personal and family circumstances change. You can add simple amendments (codicils) or you might have to make a new Will.

What is a specific bequest?

Provision in a Will for certain items or assets to go to named individuals or charities is called a specific bequest. Wills can also mention funeral arrangements or anatomical gifts, although this is not recommended in a Will, as often the Will is not reviewed until after the funeral.

Is all my property distributed in accordance with a Will?

No. Two main categories of assets are not distributed according to your Will. Property can pass to a named beneficiary in documents such as insurance policies, some RRSP’s and other similar investment documents. Jointly-owned property and joint bank accounts may pass directly to the surviving owner, subject to the doctrine of resulting trusts.

What if I die without a Will?

The distribution of assets of a person dying without a will (intestate) follows an inflexible
formula set by law, takes longer to process, and can be more expensive. Having a Will is
usually more economical and assures that your wishes will be followed.


  • Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
  • The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
  • Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know “why” I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.
  • When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
  • You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
  • I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
  • One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
  • Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
  • Old age is when former classmates are so gray and wrinkled and bald, they don’t recognize you.
  • If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you are old.
  • First you forget names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper. It’s worse when you forget to pull it down.

A group of senior citizens were exchanging notes about their ailments. ‘My arm is so weak I can hardly hold this coffee cup.’ ‘Yes, I know. My cataracts are so bad I can’t see to pour the coffee.’ ‘I can’t turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck.’ ‘My blood pressure pills make me dizzy.’ ‘I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old.’ ‘Well, it’s not all bad. We should be thankful that we can still drive!’